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Astros offseason predictions: 3 players the Houston should already be targeting

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 05: Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs stands in the dugout following a two-run home run against the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field on August 05, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

The Houston Astros are a good team but not a perfect team by any means. They will have to address some areas this offseason.

The Houston Astros are a very good team. In fact, they are tied for the best record in the American League. However, they have a lot of impending free agents this offseason and some weaknesses on the team currently.

Some of their impending free agents include first baseman Yuli Gurriel, left fielder/DH Michael Brantley, catcher Christían Vazquez, catcher Jason Castro, reliever Rafael Montero, and utility man Aledmys Díaz. In addition, their ace Justin Verlander and reliever Will Smith have player options and first baseman/outfielder/DH Trey Mancini and catcher Martín Maldonado each have mutual options. So the Astros could have a lot of money coming off the books after this season.

Their 2022 payroll is roughly $188 million, according to Spotrac. They only have about $110 million on the books for 2023 so they have some room to make a few big signings.

Here’s who they should already be looking at signing this offseason.

Astros: 3 offseason free agent targets

1. Catcher Willson Contreras

With all three of their primary catchers potentially becoming free agents after this season, the Astros need to be on the market for catchers. The best catcher on the free agent market will be Willson Contreras.

It was very surprising that the Cubs did not trade him at the trade deadline but he still could leave them after this season, especially if he wants to compete in the near future.

Contreras was the starting catcher for the National League in the All-Star Game this year and currently, he is hitting .253/.364/.463 with an OPS+ of 130. He also has 16 home runs and 44 RBI in 94 games. Defensively, he is not great as he is either at league average or below average in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), Outs Above Average (OAA), and Pitch Framing Runs.

However, his bat makes him one of the best catchers. Balance him with someone like Martín Maldonado, who the Astros turn to at the catching position almost exclusively for his defense, and they could make the position really strong.

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